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Simple Tips for Moving on a Budget

7/16/21 8:00 AM

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The housing marketing is hot right now as many people are looking to take advantage of all-time low interest rates. 

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, around one-in-five U.S. adults (22%) say they either changed their permanent residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did. This means a large number of Americans are going to be packing, unpacking, and settling into a new home.

If a location change is on the horizon, it’s important to think through the expenses outside of your home purchase. According to Moving.com, the average cost of a local household move is $1,250. Likewise, the average price of a long-distance move is around $4,890. If you're on a tight budget, moving costs can be an expensive and stressful experience. But it doesn't have to be. To help navigate, we’ve compiled some simple tips to save you money and make the moving process more seamless.

Avoid Peak Season

If at all possible, avoid moving during the peak season. The time between April and September is historically the busiest and often most expensive time of year to move. Nice weather and school schedules drive up demand, which influences not only housing prices but also costs for services like moving truck rentals and hiring moving companies.

The cheapest time to move is in the fall and winter seasons, on a weekday, and at the beginning or end of the month. To save time and gas costs on your moving day, avoid driving during morning and evening rush hours. It's not always possible to time your move during a specific timeframe. Still, if you have time to plan, it can save you significantly.

Use Free Packing Materials

The primary goal is to make sure your items arrive at your new destination in one piece. If hiring the movers to pack you up is not in your budget, there are alternatives. While you can opt for purchasing bubble wrap and moving paper, there are inexpensive - or free - alternatives that save you money and, ultimately, space by using items found in your home. Here are some options for finding and using inexpensive packing.

  • Find stores that are giving away boxes, like a big box retail store or supermarket.
  • Pack non-breakable belonging in bins and suitcases.
  • Use socks to pack glassware.
  • Washcloths and kitchen towels are a great way to separate plates.
  • Bath towels and blankets are great for wrapping items like lamps and mirrors.
  • Utilizing an item's original packaging is perfect for expensive electronics or finer goods.

Donate or Sell Items You No Longer Want

Another tip to save while moving is getting rid of items you no longer need . You may realize you no longer want old things, or your new space won't be able to accommodate as much "stuff." Decluttering your current home is the best time to reassess what things you and your family need to live.

If there are items you find you no longer want that are still in good condition, you can donate them to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. You can also sell unwanted items for extra cash on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or have a good old fashioned yard-sale. This way, you're not only lightening your load, but you may also be able to recoup some money from selling items to apply toward your moving costs. It's a win-win.

Ask Family & Friends for Help

If you're planning a local move and have friends, family, and co-working that would be willing to help - ask. You might be surprised at how willing your loved ones are to lend a hand! You can even sweeten the deal by offering to buy food and supply drinks to those helping you with the heavy lifting. Though you may "owe one back" after their help, it will be well worth the cost savings up front. You can also do a few things to help ensure a smooth moving experience for you and your loved ones.

  • Ask your friends and family as soon as you have a moving date. This will give you and them time to plan and reduce unavoidable disruptions the day of the move.
  • Be organized when they arrive to save time. Have your household items already packed and ready to be transported and a plan for which pieces are being moved first.
  • If you want to go the extra mile, create a small gift bag for your moving helpers. Since you're moving on a budget, don't break the bank. But homemade chocolate chip cookies go a long way when you want to say thank you.

Rent Your Own Truck

Since one of the most significant expenses when moving is finding and dealing with a moving truck, consider renting your own instead of hiring movers. You can see hourly and daily rate options for trucks and vans at places like Uhaul and Budget Truck Rental. Obtaining your own rental truck is an excellent option if you're moving close and if you have friends and family helping you on your move.

However, moving within cities isn't always the case. While you can move yourself cross-country or to a different state, this is where it's often a good time to call in the professionals.

Shop Around for an Estimate

As a rule of thumb, always get three estimates to select the best offer for your move. If an offer seems too good to be true, it likely is, and you may end up with missing or broken items. Also, check and see if the mover offers additional services like assembly or large furniture, or temporary storage options. The site moveBudda.com is an excellent research tool. It will help you calculate your moving costs depending on a variety of factors and will help you quickly compare tons of options for your move.

The process of moving to a new house is a hefty undertaking and doesn’t come cheap. However, you can save on your move with some creativity and common sense—without sacrificing either your sanity or more money than you may have anticipated.

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